Skip to content
Gov. Gavin Newsom wins in California recall election


California Governor Gavin Newsom (R) will retain his post. (Photo: ROBYN BECK via Getty Images)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (R) prevailed in the state’s recall election, it is projected, securing a victory in the biggest fight of his political career to date and shielding the Democratic Party from an effect of perilous training.

Polls in the last few weeks leading up to the Sept. 14 election suggested the Republicans’ effort to recall him would fail, in large part thanks to renewed enthusiasm from Democratic voters. Polls in previous months have shown a close race and strong Republican turnout, leaving Newsom supporters on the edge even as the numbers move in his favor.

The ballot posed two questions to voters: Do you want to call Newsom back? And, if he is recalled, who among the forty or so other candidates should replace him? It seemed simple enough, but the arrangement included the possibility that a competing candidate with a little backing would become the new governor of California.

If more than 50% of the voters answered “yes” to the first question, the candidate who obtained the most support for the second question would replace him. If that had been the case, a candidate with as little as 20% voter support could have become the leader of California, even if just under 50% of voters wanted to keep Newsom.

Gov. Gavin Newsom wins in California recall election

Gov. Gavin Newsom addresses an anti-recall rally on September 4 as he campaigns with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) In Culver City, California. (Photo: David McNew / Getty Images)

His most formidable opponent was Larry Elder, a conservative radio host who backs former President Donald Trump, denies humanity’s role in climate change, thinks abortion is ‘murder’, wants to end all public health mandates related to COVID-19 and is the subject of a domestic affairs police investigation. allegations of violence by his ex-fiancee.

The idea of ​​Elder rising to the top office in deep blue California, where only 24% of registered voters identify as Republicans, was inconceivable to many. But Elder claimed a claim in the state’s red pockets, burying reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, moderate Republican Kevin Faulconer, businessman John Cox and others in pre-election polls. . In early September, FiveThirtyEight’s consolidated average for Elder was 23.5%.

Newsom’s loss to a Republican could have had major implications beyond California. Although Democrats in the state legislature have a veto-proof majority, limiting the power of a Republican governor with respect to state laws, one could influence the composition of the Senate. American.

If Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), The oldest Senate member at 88, were to retire or die before her term ends, the governor could appoint her successor. A Republican would ostensibly appoint someone from his own party, overthrowing the very slim Democratic majority in the Senate and returning control to the GOP.

Gov. Gavin Newsom wins in California recall election

Reminder of supporters of the rally in Santa Clarita in August. (Photo: Francine Orr via Getty Images)

A successful Newsom recall could also trigger similar efforts in the other 18 states that allow official recall, although the bar for getting a recall on the ballot is much higher in most other states. In California, supporters of the recall must collect the signatures of 12% of the number of voters in the last governor’s election, which is just under 1.5 million people for that race. Most other states that allow recalls require about double this percentage.

The organizers of the recall against him also benefited from a judge granting them a 120-day extension to the usual 160-day signature collection period in November, saying it was “virtually, if not really impossible” for them to adequately search for signatures without additional delay. during the pandemic.

This extra time allowed Newsom’s opponents to capitalize on a period of weakness for the governor. Newsom was suffering a significant drop in popularity as frustrations around school and business closures linked to the pandemic mounted, fueling the recall movement. And in an incident that could haunt him for years to come, he was photographed having dinner in a semi-enclosed restaurant space at the ultra-exclusive French Laundry in Napa County, no less with a dozen of ‘guests from several households in November. Newsom apologized, saying the exit violated the spirit of its own COVID-19 safety rules.

With victory in Tuesday’s election assured, Newsom now faces the challenge ahead of putting the stain of a recall election behind him as he pursues his political aspirations. It’s an open secret that Newsom has set his sights on a senior political post, but he’ll have to go through next year’s gubernatorial election first.

This is a developing story. Please check for updates.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

Related …